Covid-19: Housing Market

Housing, Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons on 28th April 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Crabb Stephen Crabb Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee, Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee

What plans the Government have to support the recovery of the housing market after the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

As Mike Yarwood used to say, “This is me”.

The Government have engaged closely with the housing industry and stand ready to support its recovery. I have spoken to the Home Builders Federation, large developers, small and medium-sized enterprises, niche developers, metal matrix composite manufacturers, housing associations, the private rented sector and the National Residential Landlords Association to identify their challenges. Building on the immediate support that the Chancellor has already provided, we will bring forward measures to support renters and buyers, as well as continuing to drive forward a package of housing reforms to get Britain building again.

Photo of Stephen Crabb Stephen Crabb Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee, Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee

It is vital for delivering our national housebuilding mission and for the wider economy that we get the construction sector back to work as quickly as is safely possible. While it is extremely welcome that some of the UK’s largest construction firms have announced that they will resume work, smaller firms are nervous about returning without a full green light from Government, so what measures is the Minister putting in place to ensure that the construction industry gets all the support it needs to make sound decisions about getting sites reopened?

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend for that question. He is absolutely right: getting building going again is vital to our economy. Something like 100,000 extra homes adds 1% to our GDP, so work in construction can and should continue where it is safe to do so. We are working with a range of developers and organisations to make sure that they feel it is safe to go back to work, including the big developers that he described but also a range of SMEs that are keen to get that green light. I hope that further developers will follow the work that Taylor Wimpey, Vistry and others have done to get back to work, and we will certainly help them to do so.